Jack Jonasson laughs as he’s informed Lo Pub won the Uniter 30’s favourite local establishment that no longer exists category.
“Of course it did,” he says.
The self-described “guy in charge” of Lo Pub, Jonasson recalls a “dive bar.” “There was a fireplace and there was a canon above the mantle on the fireplace and these cool ceiling tiles above the bar and stuff. I really like that kind of ’60s, ’70s hotel bar feel.”
Lo Pub was a community hub.
“We were open to anybody and anything, and we really tried hard to develop a community. I tried hard to make Lo Pub somewhere I wanted to hang out. Somewhere that’s got live music, cheap beer, good friends, interesting conversation and somewhere that felt like your grandpa’s basement.”
Jonasson managed Lo Pub during its four-and-a-half years as a bar attached to a hostel at the corner of Ellice Avenue and Kennedy Street until 2012, when both the Hi Hostel and Lo Pub went down and out. Although Lo Pub was a vibrant community watering hole, The Forks North Portage Partnership sold the building as the 120-bed hostel business struggled with occupancy.
“Independent of (the Hi Hostel), we were profitable and viable,” Jonasson told The Uniter in 2012.
“Lo Pub wouldn’t have existed without the people that came to our events, sat at the end of the bar, participated in lively debates about world issues with hostel guests from every corner of the world and made it their home,” Jonasson updates in 2017.
“We all look for some place to belong, and in that four-and-a-half years we were around for, I think we were that place for a bunch of people, myself included,” he says.
Jonasson went on to perform general manager (GM) duties at the West End Cultural Centre (WECC), and left that post in November. “I’m taking some much needed time off and planning my next move,” he says.
Published in Volume 72, Number 12 of The Uniter (November 30, 2017)